The frozen desert serves as a scientific haven for more than 1,000 researchers around the year, who monitor climate change and study Earth’s history. Its barren landscape gives them access to an unspoilt world, where they can complete their research without intrusion or political pressure. But, sometimes the scientists like to head beneath the ice to get a glimpse into an ecosystem untouched in millennia, and Advexon’s ‘Under the Ice’ documentary showed what happens when they do.
The narrator said in 2014: “After a rough hour’s ride over the frozen ocean, the team arrives at a dive hut next to a place called little razorback island.
“Dale will be first into the water.
“The water temperature here is 28F(-2C), so cold it can freeze blood.
“If something goes wrong there are only two places to get out, this hole and a nearby safety hole.
Divers headed below the ice of Antarctica
Dale headed beneath the surface
To me, these noises sound like alien radio signals in science fiction movies
“The diving is what they came all this way to do.”
One of the divers, Dale, then took viewers below the surface to explore a hidden world beaming with life.
He said: “Three layers of underwear and a dry suit still doesn’t keep you warm, but for me, it’s worth it, there’s no diving like this anywhere in the world.
“The only thing exposed to the water is your lips, at first they burn, but then they get completely numb and it’s okay.
“The crystals on the bottom are called anchor ice and in shallow places like this, ice forms on almost anything the water touches, so it grows into an ice garden.
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“Sometimes it picks up stones, or even living creatures like this sea urchin and then carries them up to the ceiling.”
Then, a series of strange noises began sounding out, before Dale explained what was going on.
He added: “To me, these noises sound like alien radio signals in science fiction movies.
“They’re actually the calls of Waddell Seals, who go anywhere to find a hole for air.
“I’ve dived in a lot of places that are famous for clearwater, this is far clearer.
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The team snapped some brilliant footage
The bizarre sounds came from the seals
“At this time of year, you can see almost a quarter-of-a-mile ahead.”
The cameras then continued through the clear water, revealing several strange creatures on the seabed.
Dale continued: “These strange things are called brine channels, upon the surface the salt is concentrated in the frozen sea ice and makes brine that is so salty it stays liquid even when the surface ice cools it.
“When this cold brine flows downwards, it freezes the less salty seawater around it, making these tubes.
“We’re diving in shallow water because most of the action is on the ocean floor.
“These sea stars have just finished off an urchin and are attacking each other.”